Does a non-working spouse have legal financial rights?

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Does a non-working spouse have legal financial rights?

Are there laws to address a spouse who isn’t employed outside of the home, takes care of the children, assists with the family business and whom is financially, emotionally mentally

abused by the working spouse. The working spouse controls all finances, going out of the way to ensure that the non-working spouse doesn’t have any financial access. Also, accuses the non-working spouse of theft fraud when credit card purchases are made or money is used that is found that’s been hidden. Does the non-working spouse have any legal financial rights?

Asked on July 9, 2016 under Family Law, Mississippi

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A non-working spouse does have legal and financial rights to any community funds.  However, it is not unheard of for emotionally abusive spouses to limit access to the non-working spouse.  If the non-working spouse spends community funds, then it is not considered theft because it's only theft when someone spends funds they are not entitled to.  Both spouses are entitled to access to community funds.
The next issues it how to make the situation better.  This is an emotionally abusive and disfunctional relationship from what you describe.  As such, there are several different options that you can pursue.  One is to reach out to a local abuse shelter.  Many will offer or help arrange for free or inexpensive counseling for one or both spouses.  If this relationship has a shot... it needs intensive counseling.  It's extremely hard to change an abuser... if you don't think there is hope.. the other option is to file for divorce and seek temporary orders which require the offending spouse to hand over funds for support. Support will help, however, the other difficulty for non-working spouses is getting enough funds to survive.  The courts can sometimes assist... but if the abuser simply doesn't make enough and the parties were barely making it... then the non-working spouse has to look for other methods of support or employment.  Many abuse shelters and local workforce commissions can assist with this transition with job training, day care support, and job search assistance.  Tap into each resource available.


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